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tv   Newsline 30min  KCSMMHZ  September 11, 2012 6:00am-6:30am PDT

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18 months on, japanese look back on the day everything changed. welcome to nhk world "newsline." one of the strongest earthquakes in japan's history shook the country a year and a half ago. few could forget what happened next. tsunami roared ashore, swallowing whole communities in the northeast. nearly 16,000 people died, almost 3,000 others are still listed as missing. the disaster also triggered an accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant.
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people are taking time on this day to remember what happened on march 11, 2011, and what's changed since. residents of sendai in miyagi prefecture headed out to a monument before dawn to pray for the victims. >> translator: i still don't feel at ease even now. >> translator: i almost welled up with tears. but then i found i could pray calmly by looking out at the sea and the rising sun. >> about 70,000 trees made up a pine forest along the coast of minamisanriku, iwate prefecture. the tsunami ripped them all away. the lone survivor became a symbol of hope, but its roots are rotting, so workers will
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treat the tree to preserve it so it can stand in the same location. >> translator: we are the ones who have to pass on the stories of the disaster to the next generation. i came here to remember the scene. >> about 200 residents and monks in ewa kay city, fukushima prefecture, went out to sea to remember. they held a memorial service for those who lost their lives in the tsunami. in minamisanriku, many people prayed and offered flowers in front of what was once the town's disaster management office. the tsunami trapped officials and citizens there. 42 died. people honored them with a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m., the exact time the quake struck. >> translator: i prayed for those who died. looking at the damaged town, i just wish for a quick recovery.
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>> translator: i prayed the bodies of the missing would be found soon. >> last year's disaster and accident at fukushima daiichi prompted people in japan and abroad to scrutinize this country's nuclear industry. critics described relations between the government and regulators as too cozy. japanese leaders have responded. cabinet members have finalized plans for a new, largely independent nuclear watchdog. prime minister yoshihiko noda's cabinet decided to inaugurate the watchdog on wednesday of next week. the new commission will replace the nuclear and industrial safety agency. that agency is controlled by the economy trade and industry ministry, which has promoted atomic energy. people criticized it after the fukushima accident for lacking independence. >> translator: i expect the
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commission to make every effort to win public understanding. so people will see that nuclear regulation has changed for the better. >> the commission will supervise a new nuclear regulatory agency employing some 500 people. noda will appoint the commission's five members when it's launched. earlier, nhk world gave us a more in-depth view of this new commission. tell us what this new nuclear commission will do. >> yes, let me give you three points. first members will make emergency plans for utilities in the event of a nuclear accident. and second, they will also be in character of drawing up new nuclear safety measures for local municipalities. third, the commission will be tasked with deciding on restarting reactors in japan. you know, right now, 50 of 52 units are offline.
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they made the decision to separate the commission from the industry ministry in nuclear power, will make this watchdog more independent. it's replacing the nuclear and industry safety agency. >> the government originally planned to set up this new commission as early as april this year. it's now september. what's the reason for the delay? >> well, one of the reasons was discussion over the selection of committee members. prime minister noda planned to appoint the chairperson and the other four positions has been prolonged because of resistance not only by the opposition but also by members of his ruling democratic party. they said the experts in the list included people with strong connections with nuclear-related businesses.
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noda gave up passing the personnel bill during the last session of the diet and decided to appoint the members by himself according to law. and we won't find out until next week who will fill those positions. this delay in starting up the commissions has set the japanese government back by five months. and it is still waiting to establish new nuclear safety guidelines a year and a half after the accident at fukushima daiichi. >> nhk world's tomoko kamata. science and technology experts in japan want the government to rethink how it deals with the by-product of atomic energy, nuclear waste. they argued against the current plan to store the waste deep underground for tens of thousands of years. they instead want it to be kept in temporary locations. science council of japan president takashi onishi presented a proposal to atop tomic emergency commission
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chair shunsuke kondo. the government asked the council in 2010 to review its disposal plan. the initial idea was to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste more than 300 meters underground. but opposition from people living near candidate burial sites has deadlocked the plan. the science council's proposal says the public must agree on nuclear policies before disposal sites can be selected. council members flagged japan's high seismic and volcanic activity. they say current technology can't predict which locations will remain stable for tens of thousands of years. so they suggest temporarily storing nuclear waste for decades to hundreds of years either above or below ground. the scientists say technological development and public consensus should take place during that time.
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farmers in northeastern japan are trying to get their fields back. last year's tsunami soaked their land with saltwater. damages top more than $10 billion. cleaning up the soil is one option, but farmers are also working with scientistins to fi crops that can grow despite the pollution. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: takahashi has grown rice and vegetables on his farm in miyagi prefecture for four decades. last year for the first time, he had nothing to harvest. things aren't much better this year. leafy vegetables such as celery have a hard time growing. >> translator: it's been about three months since we planted this kro. it should have been ready by now, but we can't sell it. it's not edible. >> reporter: the earthquake and tsunami damaged 22,000 hectares
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of farmland across northeastern japan, including 10% of the fields in miyagi. seawater seeped into the soil and left behind a shroud of salt. plants had trouble absorbing water. farmers had trouble growing crops they could sell. so government officials at different levels launched a project to desal nate the soil. workers have only cleaned up about half the problem. the other problem remains untouched. researchers are taking another tack. they're trying to develop a variety of rice that can thrive in this harsh environment. some are experimenting with genetically modified rice grown using diluted seawater.
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>> we'd like to help rice farmers in miyagi get back on their feet again by creating a vary of rice that is resistant to salt pollution. >> reporter: this machine emits an ion beam that triggers plant genes to mutate. expermits suggest the process can turn grains of rice into ones immune to salt pollution. researchers have found only about 1 in every 100 irradiated grains will grow into a plant that survives. but then they will be able to use all the grains from that plant. >> translator: if it goes as planned, we can develop rice that is salt resistant. >> reporter: farmers have other plans, too.
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takahashi is taking part in a project to grow licorice. drugmakers use its root in various medications including one to treat stomach ulcers. people in japan use about 3,000 tons of licorice last year. they imported almost all of it from china and elsewhere. this man has been researching licorice for 20 years. >> translator: i saw plants in the pea family grow in salt-damaged fields, so i thought licorice could easily grow, too. >> reporter: he provided takahashi seedlings to plant. >> translator: i'm surprised they've grown bigger than expected. this licorice is growing well. >> translator: i cannot return to the way things were so, the
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only thing i can do is go step by step, like going upstairs gradually. >> reporter: takahashi can't wait for the first harvest. he expects it will come in november. takahashi isn't just cultivating rice and vegetables on his farm. he's cultivating hope. takafumi terui, nhk world. tuesday is the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the united states. people across the country are holding memorial ceremonies for victims. terrorists flew hijacked planes into the twin towers of the world trade center in new york and the pentagon in the state of virginia. they killed nearly 3,000 people. a memorial ceremony is under way at the site of the world trade center. [ bell ringing ] people observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the exact time the plane hit one of the
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towers. bereaved family members then read out the names of the victims. the landscape at ground zero is changing. the memorial park was opened there last year. a 500-meter high skyscraper is also being built, which will be the tallest in the u.s. when it's finished next year. some people worry that memories of the terror attacks are as painful as other. others say people who weren't affecting are gradually forgetting the event as anniversaries come and go. china's foreign ministry spokesperson has urged japan to withdraw its decision on the purchase of disputed islands in the east china sea. the japanese government bought the senkaku islands from a private japanese owner on tuesday. japan controls the islands, but they are claimed by china and
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taiwan. >> japan's decision is completely illegitimate and invalid. we demand that they immediately cancel it. >> hong said chinese officials will convey a similar demand to a visiting japanese senior diplomat. the foreign agency bureau chief toshiyuki shiga -- shinsuke sugiyama is there to explain the decision. >> translator: i hope i can have a full discussion about various matters of concern with the chinese officials. >> protests have been held in some chinese cities against japan's move. about 20 people gathered in front of the japanese embassy in beijing on tuesday. they held up a banner declaring the island's chinese territory. sporadic protests continued. in one case, a man tried to ram his car into the embassy's gates.
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in guangzhou in the southern province of guangdong, about 10 people carrying chinese frags gathered near a building. they shouted slogans about protecting the islands. the japanese consulate general says anti-japan protests were also held in weihei. in shandong province. photos of supposed demonstrators have been posted online. executives at large japanese companies are feeling something they haven't for a while -- optimism. they report an improved move for the first time in a year. the finance ministry and the cabinet office released the results of a survey of more than 15,000 firms. they measured the percentage of companies, saying conditions are better than the previous quarter, minus those saying conditions are worse. the result this time was 2.2, the first positive measure in four quarters. ministry officials point to an
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increase in housing and port construction in northeastern japan. orders for electronic parts for new smartphones also picked up. the outlook for the october to december quarter is also positive at 5.4. however, finance ministry officials say business sentiment remains cautious. they say the european debt crisis and global slowdown could hurt exports. struggling japanese electronics maker sharp has decided to make deeper cuts in salaries and bonuses in the face of a deteriorating business environment. the company asked its labor union on tuesday to accept a proposal to cut wages by 7% instead of 2% in an earlier plan for one year beginning in october. it also plans to slash bonuses by 50%. in addition, sharp decided to reduce pay for those in management positions by 10% out from an original 5% and cut their bonuses in half. company officials say these
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measures would save about $180 million for the current business year, ending next march. sharp is forecasting a loss of about $3 billion for the year. as part of its effort to stay afloat, the firm sought a capital tie-up agreement with taiwan's hon hai precision industry but they've asked sharp to renegotiate the terms. a deadly attack has hit the main u.s. military strong point in afghanistan. the assault comes on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the september 11 attacks on the u.s. patchari raksawong in our bureau in bangkok has the details. the attack targeted a u.s. military airfield. a spokesman for the coalition forces says three afghan personnel died in the assault. bagram air field near the afghan capital of kabul is the largest of all the u.s. military bases in afghanistan. four rockets hit the facility around 10:00 p.m. local time on
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monday, destroying a helicopter belonging to the nato-led forces, and killing personnel inside. recent weeks have seen intensified violence across afghanistan. on saturday, a teenager blew himself up near the headquarters of nato-led forces in kabul, killing six civilians, including children. that attack followed a suicide bombing of a funeral which killed at least 25. hundreds of thousands of afghan and foreign troops are working to fight insurgents, yet violence is now at its worse since the taliban were toppled by afghan and u.s. forces in 2001. some areas in the north of thailand which were hit hard by last year's floods are under water again, following torrential rainfall. the government is apologizing to people affected by the situation. floodwaters averaging one meter in depth have continued for three days in central areas of the northern province. as of tuesday, leaks continue in
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the dikes that hold back the river that runs through the province's capital. officials have been working hard to repair the barriers in a bid to save the town's central business district. local authorities told nhk that the flood has driven more than 1,000 people to seek refuge at an evacuation center. the chairman of a government-appointed committee in charge of flood management has come out to apologize to those hit by the latest flood, saying the authority couldn't confirm in time that the barriers were strong enough to prevent the disaster. >> translator: we offer our apologies to the people of the area. we're very sorry for them and didn't expect so much damage. >> thailand's meteorological department predicts more rain for most parts of the country, which is now in the middle of the rainy season. precipitation is forecast until next week. the authority is asking people living along rivers and other at-risk areas to be on alert.
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india is promoting nuclear power as a means of feeding its growing economy. but there is a strong opposition. one anti-nuclear protester died during a demonstration on monday, and others have gone on hunger strike. nhk world's neha gupta has the story. >> reporter: the clash between demonstrators echoed near the nuclear power plant in the southern indian state. they confronted local residents who are against plans to start operations at the facility resulting in injuries on both sides. the protest spilled over to a neighboring district where people gathered around a police station to protest the handling of anti-nuclear demonstrations. bullets often fired on the residents, killing one.
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this prompted around 30 demonstrators to begin a 48-hour hunger strike on monday. they, along with their supporters, are criticizing the decision to go ahead with plans to start operating the nuclear plant. >> translator: the incident has affected us deeply, and we severely condemn it. they inflicted violence on us by throwing tear gas and beating us. they attacked us and forced us to stop our protest. >> reporter: the facility was scheduled to begin operations last fall, but that plan has been delayed by an anti-nuclear movement which gained momentum following last year's accident at japan's fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. india, like other emerging
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economies in asia, is having difficulties securing enough energy for its growing economy. in july, massive blackout hit the country for two consecutive days. more than half the country, including the capital, new delhi, was left without power at one point during the incident. the indian government claims nuclear power is needed to meet the growing demands for electricity and maintains that the plant is safe. but people living near the plant are not convinced. the friction between them is growing even stronger now that one protector has been secured. neha gupta, nhk world, new delhi. and that's going to wrap up our bulletin for today. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok.
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hot weather continues in tokyo. the lack of rain is creating some shortage in wat. meteorologist robert speta has more on the weather for here and elsewhere. robert? >> yes, gene. across portions of tokyo it has been very dry, and unfortunately the rain showers towards hokkaido will not be helping out. most of these showers will be staying off towards the north and actually around hokkaido here, some areas could be seeing upwards of 150 mill liters in the next 24 hour, adding on top of continuous rainfall since last weekend, so about 320 mi millimeters have been seen. most of that will be staying off towards the north. as this low continues to interact with the tropical depression here down towards the southeast, it does look like a few stray storms could be blowing through the region and much of central japan but not really helping out that drought situation.
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as these two continue to weaken, it looks by thursday most of japan is going to be seeing much fairer weather. let's look down towards the south in and around the tropics because monsoonal flow here and across thailand, around thailand, much of the indochina peninsula, has been seeing heavy flooding due to that flow here overall for about the past week. it does look like this. also towards the philippines, you'll be impacted as well as that flow is enhanced by the newest tropical storm. tropical storm samba moving off to the north at about 15 kilometers per hour, winds at 16 kilometers per hour, expected to stay on this northerly progression, could impact around taiwan and much of the southern japanese islands for the weekend. for the time being, lit pull the moisture out of the south china sea and drop it across portions of luzon. in some areas, you could be seeing 150 millimeters in the next 48 hours alone. flooding and landslides will be a risk as that moisture
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continues to pull onshore. temperatures across the tropics remaining hot. bangkok with those rain showers, 34 for your high. lan ba tour, the only one in the teen weather 15 on your wednesday. over towards the americas, i want to start off here just off the east coast of canada here. see that cloud cover pushing off towards the northeast? that is our tropical storm that we've been talking about for some time now. tropical storm leslie. now moving over newfoundland here, has already brought some very gusty winds, upwards of 123 kilometer per hour winds reported near the coastline. in the city of st. john's, we've seen widespread power outages as the storm blows overhead. still tropical storm warnings in place. then going on wednesday and thursday, look at this continuing to track off towards the north, becoming extratropical so it won't be a tropical system to say the least, but still the southern portions of green land and iceland, you could be feeling the effects of this with some high winds and high waves, as well, as that starts to push near the coastline. heavy moisture across portions
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of the southwest, though. this is creating some flashflood watches in and around southern california and arizona as well. temperatures will be remaining hot, though. in the southwest, oklahoma city at 33, houston at 33, as well, and los angeles at 29 on your tuesday. now towards europe, a frontal area pushing through portions of germany and poland here. this is going to be bringing some strong thunderstorms all along it. upwards of about 75 kilometer per hour winds, about 40 millimeters of rainfall, as well. what's fueling this as this tracks towards the east, bringing that rough weather towards the northern portions of italy and the balkans but also cooler temperatures behind it. london, your high on wednesday only 15. paris, you're at 19 as well. here's a look at your extended forecast. ♪
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we'll be back with more updates in 30 minutes. i'm gene otani in tokyo.
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